“As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed. “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples…’” Mark 16:5-7
“He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’” Luke 24:6-7
“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.” Matt. 28:6
I went to church for the first time in over 6 years today. I know, for someone who talks about spirituality so much, it sounds… wrong. But hear me out.
For the longest time, I was terrified of church. I had very manipulative, narcissistic, emotionally abusive parents who decided they could do better than any church and pulled us. Granted, the church we attended at the time definitely had some major problems that I really won’t delve into here. But they scared us. No church was ever good enough for them. If there was contemporary Christian music, they were out. If people did not dress to the nines, out. If there was but a single idea, theological or not, that they did not particularly love, bye. So it’s hard to overcome that after so many years. When people fuck* with your head for so long, it’s hard to tell truth from lies. So while I very much identified as a follower of Christ, read my Bible, prayed, and tried to live a life pleasing to Him, I avoided church.
To an extent, I am still scared of it. Nowadays, there is no way I still believe in some of the things our Southern Baptist, evangelical, Republican from the pulpit churches used to exhort. For one, I believe in equal rights for women and LGBTQ people. I believe Black Lives Matter. I believe in science. I believe in social justice for immigrants and refugees. I believe it is our job, as Christians, or even humans, to help those in need, not pull their pensions, take away health care options, or build a wall to keep brown people out.
Where was this to lead a woman who only knew one way of doing things? A way that, unfortunately, is being what I now know a very loud minority in the media. People screaming things that make my gentle heart break in two.
After lots of research, I learned that in the real world, quite a lot of denominations accept science as fact and believe in social justice. They’re just not being heard because the news will have more fun reporting on that which is inherently unkind. Gotta get those clicks. Of course, it does not help that these same people run their mouth anytime you put a microphone near their face.
Nonetheless, things are not nearly as hopeless as I felt. Still though, a lot of these denominations are so vastly different from how I was raised that it’s uncomfortable at first. I suffer from anxiety (thanks, parents), so even though I know no one would judge, I am not comfortable going to a church with rituals I do not understand and have no idea how to partake in. I don’t even know if certain rituals would be allowed by a different denomination. Catholicism**, for example, does not allow non Catholics to partake in communion. I would never want to misbehave in someone else’s environment. I thought I was just… not cut out for church.
But then, my daycare search began. I knew the Baptist church down the street offered daycare, and while I was skeptical for all the reasons mentioned above, I knew no church would be talking to a baby about Black Lives Matter or LGBTQ issues. I also knew that churches often provide loving daycare environments, teach about Christ (which I wanted), and their menu was super healthy online (just being real!). So I looked into their website and was in for a huge surprise.
You guys, they cared about social justice too. They actively support equality for women and LGBTQ communities. They work with refugees and stand for Black Lives Matter. This could potentially work out!
But, cue anxiety. Every scenario of something going wrong went wrong in my head, but I was determined: I would try an Easter service. Churches get lots of guests on Easter, so I was unlikely to be socially harassed by people merely excited over new blood.
And it was great. I felt right at home, like I had never missed church a day in my life. I can’t say I will become a regular goer (though I will try for at least once a month, for now) unless I end up being a stay at home mom (which is possible) and I think Baby Boy needs more socialization. Maybe when he is older I will feel more compelled. Maybe my anxiety will be greatly improved upon. But for now, I can feel safe knowing I have that option finally available in my life, and it’s super close to home should I choose to go. I’m just kinda in an in between state and suffering from anxiety does not improve the situation, so I am going to let things happen as the Spirit leads me. And that’s ok.
He is risen!
*Remember me saying I just don’t believe certain ultra conservative things? Swear words are one of them. It doesn’t make sense that words deemed as inappropriate by societal standards would be considered a sin.
**No, I am aware Catholicism does not meet my criteria. I happen to have some Catholic family and know from that.